It was an early start to the day to catch our 10:45am flight from Toronto to Washington. However, on the plus side the weather was in our favour and it sure was a beautiful day!
After landing at the Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. after a very short 1 hour flight, we left the terminal feeling as if we’d fast forwarded about a month. The temperature was around a nice 15 degrees celsius and all of the trees (which in Ontario are barely budding) had their leaves out. The great thing about this airport is the nearest subway (aka Metro) station is within about a 10 minute walking distance. The only downside to jumping on the subway was how confusing it was! Instead of paying a cash fair to a toll guy they have a row of machines that you have to go up to and purchase a fair card, now this is where it gets interesting. Between the hours of 9:30am and 3:00pm is a time period known as “off-peak fare” so you pay less during this time period for a ride. You also have to pay attention to what station you’re heading to as fares differ on that too. Once the machine spits out your paperfare card (for an extra $1 paper fee) you insert it into the entry gate. You need to make sure that you hold onto it because you’ll have to put it in the exit gate. If you haven’t paid the proper fare you can be sure that it will let you know that you didn’t pay enough upon entry and you’ll have to top it up at the machines inside the exit gates before it’ll let you out. Whew, alot to think about for a simple metro ride. However I must say their Metro’s are pretty nice (oh yes, cushy seats and carpeted floors).
We arrived pretty quickly at our hostel. We were pretty amazed at how central the location was and how clean and nice our accommodations were! We stayed at a place called Hostelling International USA – Washington DC at 1009 11th Street, NW.
They have a full size kitchen where guests have full range use of the microwaves, stoves and fridges to prepare meals. The great thing was that they had a free breakfast every morning from 7:30am-9:30am. They had cereal options, yogurt, bagels with butter or cream cheese, o.j. and coffee or tea, and since it was free it was fairly awesome!
The rooms were actually pretty nice too. Instead of all being situated in a giant open spaced room most bunks were separated by walls without doors. All linen was provided to us as well as a locker for us to store our stuff in.
We ended up arriving before check-in (which is a 2pm) so we stuffed our stuff into one of the giant rental lockers in the basement and headed out into the gorgeous afternoon sun to begin exploring Washington! Our first stop, as it was only about a 15 minute walk away was The Whitehouse. You can definitely see the house alot better from the back of it as it’s closer to the fence and there arn’t so many trees.
The front of it on the other hand is beauuuuuutiful. Just watch out for those sprinklers because they do spin around and the water definitely goes into the crowd on the other side of the fence (I may know this because I was in it’s range….)
After stopping by to see the dear old president we headed on over to the one of the most iconic monuments (at least I think it is) in Washington – The Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool.
After seeing this spot in so many pictures and films it was really surreal to finally be standing in the exact same spot that Martin Luther King Jr. stood when he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Of course after visiting this spot we headed on over to the Martin Luther King Jr. monument.
It was pretty amazing to see that someone who fought against so much oppression and who is responsible for much of the positive change in regards to race in the United States is honoured in such a great way.
After passing by the Franklin D. Roosevelt monument…
we walked along the Potomac River to the beautiful Jefferson memorial.
and of course it was hard for us to miss seeing the astounding Washington monument and the beautiful cherry blossom trees. An interesting thing that I learned was that Japan actually gave 3,000 trees to Washington in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the US, which is kind of sad when you think of the attacks on Pearl Harbour that happened less then 20 years later….
After spending the afternoon looking around the beautiful monuments of D.C we headed over to Chinatown for dinner where we had a delicious gluten-free meal! I say gluten-free because the friend I am travelling with cannot have gluten and good on her because all of the restaurants she picked were gluten-free and delicious (win-win)!
In the evening hours we continued walking the streets of Washington and ended up at the foot of Capitol Hill. Again, another one of Washington’s beautiful buildings.